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Assistance with Compensation following Terrible Flight Experience

Discussion in 'United Airlines' started by jyu7, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. jyu7

    Mar 20, 2017
    Likes Received:
    I sent the email below to customer support and detailed my experience on twitter. I received a generic apology following my twitter rant, but they made no mention of providing any compensation what so ever. I wanted compensation in the form of an upgrade on my return leg of my trip or equal value in mileage to my mileage plus account.
    Can any one assist with this.
    Please find the email below detailing the situation:

    I am a frequent flyer and I just flew the most difficult and disturbing itinerary with UA 803 on March 16, 2017. To chronologically detail the multiple issues with my most recent in flight experience, the flight IAD - NRT - ICN and started out with mechanical delays with no notification to the passengers on what the delay was about until nearing an hour and a half of waiting on the tarmac. While mechanical delays are understandable, I would expect that passengers should be made aware of such issues as soon as they are apparent instead of taxiing to take off, making us wait in line for take off for about an hour and then informing the passengers as we taxi back to the gate that there is in fact mechanical issues. While I am thankful that United was able to make up the 2 hour delayed departure and allow me to catch my layover in Narita by holding the flight for many of my fellow passengers, the IAD - NRT leg of my trip was truly difficult.

    During the first food service of the flight, as I lowered my tray table I found to my disgust that there was white, crusty staining on the seat back in front of me that was hidden by the tray table. While this is no fault of the crew, you can only imagine the difficulty that I had to eat as I would have to lean in towards my meal putting my face near the mystery stains that, to be frank, appeared to be male ejaculate that dried in a dripping and sprayed manner. It was very disturbing and disgusting to me and I have attached an image of the stains for your consideration. While I appreciated the flight attendant that moved me to a different seat to accommodate my discomfort, unfortunately, I experienced continued poor service even in my new location.

    As I was falling asleep in my new seat assignment, I was awakened by something touching my chest. As I had my eye mask on, I tore it off in a fright as I had read news reports of women being sexually assaulted on dark planes. Obviously, flustered and afraid of being a victim I looked around frantically only to see a male flight attendant with his arm outreached towards me. When I asked what happened, he merely mumbled “Oh nothing,” and continued collecting cups. Unfortunately, I was unable to see his name tag clearly in the dim lighting of the cabin. Thinking to myself, perhaps something else happened, I rationalized that it might have been something else and looked around to see a cup had fallen into my shoe. I had declined drink service earlier so this was not my cup. I handed the cup over to the attendant, assuming the flight attendant dropped a cup on me as opposed to groping me, but I do not understand why he did not diffuse the situation with explanation or apology.

    As a solo, female traveler, it was deeply disturbing as a previous victim of sexual assault to have experienced the fear of not being able to see and having something touch me in a private area with no clear explanation or understanding of what was occurring. I only realized that the flight attendant did drop this cup when I felt some unknown liquid in my handbag beside my shoe soiling one of items in my bag. While I am thankful I was not victimized in the way I feared, the mental distress and confusion could have easily been resolved if the flight attendant defused the situation properly by clearly informing me what had happened instead of reacting the way he did. I was unable to completely be at ease or to rest from that point onwards during the flight.

    I am requesting compensation for my ordeal in the form of an upgrade to business class on my return leg of my itinerary. I think that this is a reasonable accommodation considering my poor experience in both economy and economy plus. If this is not possible, I would appreciate an equal value in mileage as a gesture of goodwill.
  2. Grandma

    Jan 11, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Very often mechanical problems get noticed only during taxiing.
    Your second flight was hold back so you did not miss your connection.
    When you alerted the FA about the dirty seat - you got another seat.
    It seems, the FA accidentaly dropped a cup while collecting cups of sleepijng passengers. It means, he had to reach instead of the passengers offering them. He was not aware of your fears, so did not want to start a long explanation - assuming you wanted to fall back asleep, and not wanting to disturb other sleeping passengers.

    We all have bad experiences, we all have fears, many of us have scars.... To get compensation for something that did not happen, or happened earlier in your life?
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  3. Kahhss

    Nov 14, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I agree with grandma. You have suffered no losses, no damages and experienced no delays. I do not see any evidence of poor service beyond perhaps a dirty seat (and you were moved promptly) and a dropped drink cup. I do not believe a reasonable individual would believe that any compensation is owed for a dropped drink cup, never mind a multi thousand dollar upgrade to business class on an international flight. If the item that was soiled due to the dropped cup was permanently damaged then I could see advocating compensation for a new item but that did not seem to happen. As such I believe there is nothing to advocate here.

    While your fears may seem reasonable to you, I do not believe them to be deserving of any particular compensation. If someone was afraid of flying and the plane hit a little turbulence I do not believe that individual would be any more deserving of any compensation than any other passenger on the plane. That you seem to be excessively concerned with sexual assault on a plane does not mean that a dropped drink cup merits any additional compensation over the napkin that was dropped in my lap last week.
    John Galbraith, Nancy, kenish and 5 others like this.
  4. JVillegirl541

    Staff Member Advocate

    Nov 21, 2014
    Likes Received:
    First here are the proper contacts for United Airlines. In order to file a complaint you must do it online or by using the contacts shown here. After filing a formal complaint you will get a Case # immediately by email, if you DO NOT get a case #, they will not respond. On an International itinerary United holds fast to a 30 Business Day response time (they have SO MANY complaints they can't/won't respond any faster) in other words with out a Case # and a 30+ day wait you will get no response in time for your trip.

    United Contacts:


    DO NOT SEND A MASS EMAIL TO CONTACTS at one time and do not start at the top. Once the CEO says no you have no where else to turn. Start at the first contact and work your way up the contacts leaving one week between contacts.
    Your letter to us venting is too long, short sweet and to the point are letters that get attention.

    Good luck
  5. Christina H

    Sep 19, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Jyu7 I am very sorry to read that you have been a victim of assualt. As a female that has traveled to Europe, the Mid East and Asia alone, personal safety is a major concern.

    I have to share the previous posters view that what you suffered did not rise to the level of truly horrible.

    I have flown UA a fair amount and do think the aircrafts are a bit old and run down. However your delay did not cause you to miss your connection.

    As to the stain on the seat back in front of you --your speculation as to the origin and nature of the stain strains credulity and almost the law of physics given that the stain was not visible unless the tray table was down. Is it not more likely that the stain was from someone accidently spilling yoghurt or salad dressing, maybe while eating during turbulence? Or maybe a toddler playing with their food?

    No one likes to be startled awake, but again there is no actual harm committed. A cup was somehow dropped and some liquid ended up in your purse. That could happen during turbulence or during a flight as an accident as the seats as so close together. Yes the flight attendant could have said a cup fell but that is not that serious an issue as you did not mention damage.

    Travelers should consider keeping their bags zipped during a flight and not carry tote or open bags. An item can easily roll out and end up rows away-- at best something like a lip balm at worst a bottle of important medication. Such a bag protects the items inside and minimizes damage from outside liquids.

    Requesting to be upgraded to business class is just asking too much. You were not stranded by the late departing flight and not harmed. No one here is minimizing your fears and concerns but those alone do not warrant compensation.
  6. Raven

    Jan 5, 2015
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    Requesting an upgrade to business class for problems that were already resolved is not reasonable. If you are afraid of being assaulted on an airplane, I suggest you travel with a companion.

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